Recent links of note:
The Left Opens Fire on Columbus Statues
Kyle Smith, National Review
As days turn into weeks following the deadly Charlottesville white nationalist rally which has dominated news headlines across the country, the Left has, predictably, widened its aim on historical monuments to an absurd degree. Many vandals are taking matters into their own hands, bringing sledgehammers and cans of spray-paint to monuments they deem racist, such as a Baltimore monument to Christopher Columbus, Chicago statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and a New Orleans memorial to Joan of Arc, among many others. In De Blasio–run New York city, of course, the “tear it down” movement has found its most prominent support not in the throngs of weekend-warrior street activists, but in City Hall. As The New Criterion’s theater-critic Kyle Smith began his Wednesday editorial in National Review, “When the going gets stupid, the stupid turn pro.” As Smith reports, this week De Blasio announced an extensive review of “all statues and monuments that in any way may suggest hate or division or racism, anti-Semitism—any kind of message that is against the values of New York City,” with the Columbus statue in Columbus Circle among the most prominent on the chopping block. If the statue is to go, what then to do about the name “Columbus Circle,” or, indeed, “Columbia University” or the “District of Columbia”? Smith rightly argues that “Slavery, racism, colonialism, and conquest are simply too interwoven with the country’s history to cleanse us of all the reminders thereof,” pointing out that indeed the very name of New York City, which honors England’s Duke of York (the head of the slave-trading Royal African Company), is rife with unseemly historical baggage.
Sagrada Familia Among Sites Targeted by Barcelona Terrorists
Clare Voon, Hyperallergic
In Spain, new developments regarding plans made by the terrorists who ultimately killed fifteen last Thursday by ramming vans into crowds in Barcelona and Cambrils are a stark reminder of the grave threat that enemies of the West pose to our population as well as our cultural heritage. On Tuesday, a suspect allegedly connected to the attacks revealed in a Madrid court case that the terrorist group had originally planned to orchestrate a large-scale bomb attack on important landmarks in Spain, including Antoni Gaudí’s gigantic project, the unfinished Roman Catholic Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. Beyond the major loss of life that could have occurred had the terrorists been successful, the symbolic attack on the cultural and religious life of the West could have been potentially devastating to this ongoing, 134-year-long construction project.
3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet rewrites the history of maths – and shows the Greeks did not develop trigonometry
Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph
In somewhat lighter news, a fascinating archeological discovery has rewritten the history of math. As Sarah Knapton reports in The Telegraph, researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia, have interpreted a 3,700-year-old clay tablet, revealing that the Babylonians developed sophisticated mathematics and trigonometry over a millennium before the Greek astronomer Hipparchus created the geometric system that served as the basic foundation for modern trigonometry. The Babylonian tablet apparently describes an alternative approach to geometry than that used by the Greeks, which could have possible applications in the modern technical world—a reminder of the huge potential that study of the past has in teaching us about our own world today.
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